LUMBERTON — Roads throughout Robeson County were brined and grocery store shelves cleared Friday in preparation of hazardous freezing rain expected to hit Saturday night through Sunday afternoon.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch at 3:06 p.m. Friday that will remain in effect until Sunday at 1 p.m.
Meteorologist say that small accumulations of freezing rain possible and ice accumulations from one-tenth of an inch to one quarter of an inch are possible. The best chance for accumulating ice will exist west of Interstate-95, according to the National Weather Service.
“Small accumulations of freezing rain are possible on elevated surfaces such as bridges and overpasses which could create hazardous travel condition,” the National Weather Service stated.
Maintenance crews and contractors with the N.C. Department of Transportation applied 13,000 gallons of brine over Robeson County roads Thursday, and finished brining Friday ahead of the storm.
Brine, a cost efficient mixture of salt and water, lowers the freezing temperatures on pavement and helps prevent ice from forming on roads.
NCDOT officials urged motorists to get any food or other supplies they may need, because travel could be dangerous during the storm.
“Our crews and contractors are doing all we can to get ready for this storm and we ask North Carolinians to prepare as well,” said J. Eric Boyette, State Transportation Secretary. “Please make sure to plan ahead because this storm could impact travel around the state.”
Other crews are preparing chainsaws and other tools that will remove any downed trees.
After pre-treating the roads, crews will rest, then switch out brining equipment for plowing equipment to clear the roads of snow and ice for post-storm response.
“After the storm hits, please stay home and off the roads,” said NCDOT Chief Operating Officer Beau Memory. “NCDOT and contractor crews will do the best they can to clear roads as quickly as possible, but we ask everyone to be safe and stay patient.”
Similar to many industries nationwide, NCDOT staff and its contracting crews have been impacted by labor shortages and response times will likely not be as quick as in the past.
NCDOT and the State Highway Patrol plan from Saturday to Monday to tow any abandoned or disabled vehicles, as those could be dangerous for emergency responders and road clearing crews.
The Red Cross urges residents to stay safe and warm by following basic safety and travel tips.
“The best way to stay safe in winter weather is to prepare your home, family and pets before temperatures drop, and snow and ice start to fall,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO of the American Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina. “The Red Cross encourages families to be mindful when heating their homes with space heaters, to dress in layers before going outside, and bring pets indoors.”
HEAT YOUR HOME SAFELY
Heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces or wood and coal stoves can pose a fire hazard, and fatal fires peak in the early morning hours when most people are sleeping. Since Dec. 1, Red Cross volunteers in Eastern …….